Documenting America’s Path to Recovery #7: May 5, 2020

This is our daily update on how federal, state, and local officials are planning to set America on a path to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Each day, we:

Want to know what happened Monday? Click here.

The next two days

What is reopening in the next two days? Which stay-at-home orders will expire?

May 6

  • Arkansas will allow barbershops and salons to reopen on May 6 as part of the phased reopening plan Gov. Asa Hutchinson unveiled on May 1. Gyms were allowed to reopen on May 4. Arkansas is one of seven states that did not issue a statewide stay-at-home order. Arkansas is a Republican trifecta.

May 7

  • Yesterday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) announced that restaurants, bars, and outdoor recreational facilities in the state may reopen May 7. Restaurants and bars must close no later than 10:00 p.m. and must adhere to social distancing and other guidelines. Outdoor recreational facilities can operate from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., also subject to social distancing guidelines. Mississippi is a Republican trifecta.

Since our last edition

Have any states opened? For a continually updated article on reopening status in all 50 states, click here. For our last edition, click here.

  • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s (R) April 29 executive order permitted nonessential retail businesses to open for curbside pickup Monday. He announced that salons and barbershops could reopen on May 8, and restaurant dine-in services could resume May 11. Arizona is a Republican trifecta.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) released “Regional Guidelines for Re-Opening,” which laid out a four-phase plan for reopening the state following the coronavirus pandemic. There is no specific start date. New York is a Democratic trifecta.
  • Washington began the first stage of its four-phase reopening plan Tuesday. During the first stage, individuals over 65 or with underlying medical conditions are encouraged to stay home and gatherings of any size, (except drive-in spiritual services) are prohibited. Golf courses are allowed to reopen with restrictions, and people can go fishing and hunting again. Landscaping services, car washes, and some construction businesses can reopen. Retail stores can begin curbside pick-up. Each phase will last a minimum of three weeks.

Tracking reopenings

The table and maps below show the status of plans to lift restrictions on activities because of the pandemic. We update them daily.

We place states into six categories. How does your state stack up?

  • Reopenings in progress: the state has already lifted restrictions on some industries put in place because of the pandemic.
  • Announced reopenings, effective date: the state will reopen or partially reopen three or more industries on a set date.
  • Announced reopenings, contingent date: the state will reopen or partially reopen three or more industries on a targeted date, dependent on other conditions.
  • Announced reopenings, no date: the state has a plan to reopen three or more industries entirely dependent on conditions.
  • Limited or no announced reopening plan: the state has not yet put forth a plan to reopen three or more industries
  • No state-mandated closures were issued.

Featured plan

This is an in-depth summary of one of the latest reopening plans. Is there a plan you’d like us to feature? Reply to this email and let us know.

On May 1, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced a reopening plan, “Back on Track Indiana.” It outlines a five-stage reopening process that will lift restrictions on both individuals and businesses in phases through mid-summer.

Holcomb laid out four principles for determining whether the state was ready to begin reopening:

“First – that the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients statewide has decreased for 14 days. Our current data show that, as a state, COVID patient admissions have decreased over the past 2 weeks. Second, that the state retain its surge capacity for critical care beds and ventilators. Currently, state-wide ICU bed and vent availability has remained above 40% and 70% respectively for the last 2 weeks.”

“The third principle is that we can test all Hoosiers who are COVID-19 symptomatic. … To help in the early detection of new cases, the state has partnered with OptumServe to add 50 testing locations in strategically located parts of the state. These sites will enable over 100,000 more Hoosiers to get tested per month, and aid in the early detection of new cases. Hoosier employers, employees, and consumers can have confidence anyone concerned they may be sick due to their symptoms, or having been in contact with someone who is, will have the ability to get tested. Which leads me to our fourth guiding principle for getting Indiana back on track – which is to contact all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and expand contact tracing. We will aggressively track new cases through a centralized contact tracing program to help slow the spread of the virus.”


  • As of May 3, there had been 20,507 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 and 1,151 confirmed deaths in Indiana. A total of 113,297 residents had been tested, amounting to a positive test rate of 18.1 percent. As of July 2019, Indiana’s population was 6.7 million. Per 100,000 residents, there have been 304.6 confirmed positives, 17.1 confirmed deaths, and 1,682.9 total tests.
  • Indiana is a Republican trifecta, with a Republican governor and Republican majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Plan details

The plan’s five stages are described below. In each stage, important modifications over the preceding stage are noted.

Stage 1: March 24 through May 4

  • Rules for individuals: Residents subject to statewide stay-at-home order, which generally prohibited residents from leaving their homes. Exceptions made for essential activities (e.g., grocery shopping, filling prescriptions, caring for elderly family members) and traveling to and from work. Social gatherings of more than 10 people prohibited.
  • Rules for businesses:
    • Manufacturing, industrial, and construction businesses classified as essential permitted to continue operations, subject to social distancing and other guidelines.
    • State, county, and local government offices operational but closed to the public.
    • Offices classified as essential permitted to continue operations, subject to social distancing and other guidelines. Other offices required to conduct work remotely.
    • Non-essential retail businesses restricted to call-in or online ordering with curbside pick-up or delivery service only.
    • Essential retail businesses permitted to continue operations, subject to social distancing and other guidelines.
    • Nursing homes closed to visitors. Elective health procedures allowed to resume April 27.
    • Restaurants and bars that serve food restricted to carryout, curbside, and delivery service only.
    • State parks and golf courses remained open. Campgrounds closed, with exceptions made for permanent RV and cabin residents.
    • Closed: bars and nightclubs, personal services, gyms and fitness centers, cultural, entertainment, and sports venues.

Stage 2: May 4 through May 23

  • Rules for individuals: Residents are encouraged but not required to stay home. Recommended that individuals wear face coverings when in public and practice social distancing. Social gatherings of more than 25 people prohibited.
  • Rules for businesses:
    • Non-essential manufacturing, industrial, and construction businesses reopen.
    • Bureau of Motor Vehicle locations may open by appointment only effective May 4. Limited access to state buildings effective May 11. County and local governments to resume operations at their discretion. Public libraries reopen.
    • Offices reopen, but remote work encouraged wherever possible.
    • Non-essential retail businesses reopen at 50 percent capacity. Mall common areas reopen at 25 percent capacity.
    • Nursing homes remain closed to visitors. Congregate settings for seniors and adult day cares closed through at least May 31.
    • Effective May 11, restaurant and bar dine-in service resumes at 50 percent capacity. Bar seating remains closed.
    • Effective May 11, personal service businesses resume operations by appointment only.
    • Drive-in theaters reopen.
    • Boating and visits to beaches allowed.
  • Note: Stage 2 for Lake and Marion counties may begin on May 11 at the earliest. Stage 2 for Cass County may begin on May 18 at the earliest.

Stage 3: May 24 through June 13

  • Rules for individuals: Social gatherings of more than 100 people prohibited.
  • Rules for businesses:
    • Non-essential retail businesses operate at 75 percent capacity. Mall common areas operate at 50 percent capacity.
    • Gyms and fitness centers reopen.
    • Movie theaters reopen at 50 percent capacity.
    • Playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts, and swimming pools reopen.

Stage 4: June 14 through July 3

  • Rules for individuals: Social gatherings of more than 250 people prohibited.
  • Rules for businesses:
    • Public access restrictions to state buildings lifted.
    • Offices resume in-office work at full capacity.
    • Non-essential retail businesses operate at full capacity.
    • Restaurant and bar dine-in service resumes at 75 percent capacity. In bars that serve food, bar seating reopens at 50 percent capacity.
    • Bars and nightclubs reopen at 50 percent capacity.
    • Museums and aquariums reopen at 50 percent capacity. Large cultural, entertainment, or sports venues reopen. Amusement parks and water parks reopen at 50 percent capacity (reservations required).
    • Campgrounds reopen.

Stage 5: July 4 and continuing indefinitely

  • Rules for individuals: Social gathering size restrictions lifted.
  • Rules for businesses: At this stage, effectively all industry groups described above may resume normal operations, with continued adherence to social distancing guidelines.


  • State Sen. Rodric Bray (R), Senate president pro tem, voiced support of the reopening plan: “Gov. Holcomb has put forth a detailed road map for how our economy can open in the coming weeks that gives due regard for the safety of all of us. I, like many Hoosiers, am glad to see the reopening of retail stores – safely – and updated recommendations allowing for safe, in-person church services. I commend the governor for these steps and I know Hoosiers are looking forward to getting back to work. It will be important to watch the data and continue to be vigilant to ensure the virus does not rebound, but this is a good step forward for Indiana.”
  • State Sen. Tim Lanane (D), the Senate minority leader,  criticized the pacing of the reopening plan: “After all the sacrifices those of us in Indiana have made, the last thing we want to do is open our economy prematurely and see a new wave of this virus as a result. Indiana is not out of the woods yet with COVID-19, and until Indiana starts to see a decrease in positive tests, it’s too soon to be reopening our state at the pace and in the manner described by the Governor. The key has to be the containment and decrease of the spread of the virus, not just whether we can treat those who continue to fall ill. Just because hospitals have the capacity to treat more patients, doesn’t mean the state should be creating them.”
  • Kevin Brinegar, president of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, voiced support for the reopening plan: “What Governor Holcomb outlined today is a thoughtful, comprehensive approach that manages to achieve that delicate balance of recognizing that businesses have to start resuming operations while doing so in the safest way possible for employees, as well as customers. When business suffers, employees and their families feel it – and this period has been especially hard for almost everyone. We have to begin to return to some sense of normalcy, and the Governor’s gradual stages are the best way to achieve that.”
  • Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, president of Greater Louisville, Inc., a nonprofit group that advocates for businesses in the greater Louisville metro region, which encompasses parts of southern Indiana, voiced concerns with the differences between approaches to reopening in Indiana and Kentucky: “With differing plans and different dates, businesses on each side of the river are not really being treated equally. Some businesses in Kentucky still don’t have even a projection of when they’ll be able to open, whereas in Indiana, restaurants are going to be able to re-open early on.” She added, “We’re not taking a position on which governor was correct in the decision. It’s just a matter of needing those dates to be more aligned.”

Additional activity

In this section, we feature examples of activities by other federal, state, and local governments and influencers relevant to recovering from the pandemic.

  • Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill (D) has unveiled a plan for conducting the state’s primary and general elections. Every eligible voter in each election will be sent an absentee ballot application automatically. Pre-paid postage will be provided for both the applications and the ballots themselves. Drop boxes for the return of absentee ballots will also be installed in each municipality. In-person voting for each election is slated to occur as planned.
  • The Idaho State Board of Education voted unanimously to modify school reopening criteria to align with Gov. Brad Little’s (R) reopening plan. The new criteria require schools to meet in groups of 10 or less. Two members of the board said the criteria meant that schools should not expect to begin meeting again this academic year, though exceptions could be approved on a case-by-case basis.
  • Legislative staff in Illinois are beginning to work in their offices again. A memo from House Speaker Michael Madigan’s (D) chief of staff said that 30 staff were instructed to come into the office, with no more than 10 working on a given day. Staffers will process Freedom of Information requests, bill filings, and district office expenses. There is no timetable for the legislature to reconvene.
  • Yesterday, the Louisiana State Legislature reconvened its session, which had been suspended since March 16. As of today, 14 states are in session. Five are in regular session, three are in special session, and six states that had suspended their sessions have since reconvened.